Reading Comprehension Quiz

[A new interlinear poem will be available each Monday: Weekly Interlinear Poem .]

Use the dictionary, the acronym finder, and the word origins dictionary (links above) as needed. A new quiz is available each Monday through Thursday. This is the quiz for December 18.

Voltaire (died 1778) distrusted democracy, which he saw as propagating the idiocy of the masses. To Voltaire, only an enlightened monarch or an enlightened absolutist, advised by philosophers like himself, could bring about change, since it was in the king's rational interest to improve the power and wealth of his subjects. He believed enlightened despotism to be the key to progress and change.

The most enduring of Voltaire's written works is his novella, Candide, which satirized the philosophy of optimism. Candide was subject to censorship, and so Voltaire pretended that the actual author was a certain "Demad."

He is known for many memorable aphorisms, such as, "Si Dieu n'existait pas, il faudrait l'inventer" ("If God did not exist, it would be necessary to invent him").

Voltaire is remembered and honored in France as a courageous polemicist who indefatigably fought for civil rights – the right to a fair trial and freedom of religion – and who denounced the hypocrisies and injustices of the ancien régime.

1. The ancien regime was
A. the government of ancient Rome.
B. the government in France before the French Revolution.
C. a government of Switzerland.
D. European government.
2. "Civil," as in civil rights, means
A. demands of courtesy.
B. democratic.
C. judicial.
D. applying to ordinary citizens.
3. A despot is
A. a ruler with absolute powers.
B. an overbearing person.
C. a ruler who enriches only himself/herself.
D. a ruler in a democracy.
4. Voltaire made a joke of
A. despots.
B. France.
C. optimism.
D. the ancien regime.

The information comes from Wikipedia.

Write down your answers and then see Answer Key below.

Answer Key: 1-B..........2-D..........3-A..........4-C
Corrections? Questions? Comments? E-mail Robert Jackson at